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Benefit concert to help Thiessen pursue music studies in Boston

Dean Thiessen is “Boston bound” to continue his study of jazz music and increase his talents as a pianist.
“Boston bound”

Dean Thiessen is “Boston bound” to continue his study of jazz music and increase his talents as a pianist.

The H. J. Cody High School graduate has been accepted by Berklee College of Music after auditioning there earlier this year.

Now, to assist him in his journey, Sylvan Lake Alliance Concert Ministry is presenting a benefit concert where Thiessen is the headliner.

“It’s going to be fun, a high energy repertoire,” he said. Half of the concert will feature him playing solo while the other half will include the Dean Thiessen trio (himself, Curtis Phagoo and Coltan Shell), and other musicians such as Jaclyn Bell, Sean Neergaard, Vanessa Jerusalimiec and Martinna Japp.

“An evening of jazz, classical ragtime and boogie woogie music,” is the billing for the concert which takes place Saturday, June 23 at Sylvan Lake Alliance Church.

Thiessen has just completed the honours diploma program in music at Red Deer College with a major in jazz piano.

While at Red Deer College, he won the RDC Scholarship two years in a row in the piano category, and also won academic scholarships and maintained honours every term.

At Berklee he’s been accepted into the Bachelor’s program.

Berklee was the obvious choice for him as he continues his education. “Their mission statement,” Thiessen said, “is that they’re the music school of the present: contemporary jazz, hip hop and current styles. If you want to study jazz it’s the place to go, it’s a world renowned campus.”

Thiessen first got interested in jazz while taking piano lessons from Kerry Heisler. “She was my second piano teacher and put me on the path of jazz.”

While at Red Deer College he studied with Morgan McKee who’s also a graduate of Berklee.

“He taught me a whole bunch more stuff,” said Thiessen. “Useful things I could use. He encouraged me to go to Boston for sure.”

Thiessen was also encouraged by Berklee’s list of alumni. “It’s incredibly impressive.” He added a high percentage of students don’t graduate because they get jobs before they finish. “It’s an incredibly successful school for students.”

Tickets for the concert are $20 for adults and $10 for students. They’re available at Sylvan Lake Alliance Church (403-887-8811) or Scott’s Parables, Gasoline Alley, Red Deer. The concert begins at 7 p.m.